Reflections on the year of lust

Top 10 scandals which shook Singapore in 2012

2012 was a year full of scandals that titillated Singaporeans' imagination. And it was made even more so when the parties involved were high-ranking civil servants, teachers and notable citizens.

Former Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer's nervous confession of an extra-marital affair, law professor Tey Tsun Hang's improper relationship with student Darinne Ko and former CNB chief Ng Boon Gay's sex-for-contracts case were among the juiciest news to grip Singaporean.

And it wasn't just these civil servants, young people like blogger Alvin Tan also made headlines. The ex-NUS law student was stripped of his scholarship for posting sexually explicit photos and videos of him and his girlfriend on a blog.

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What A Wonderful World

Thanks to Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) who inspires this bloke, man, it's worth your while to give it a listen. The voice is nothing to sing about but the lyrics may lighten up some

Man, if the National Conversation is not about PAP Town Councils (14 of them then) selling out to AIM (Action Information Management owned by ex-PAP MPs) and "How Not To Throw Stones When You Live In A Glass House?" then what the fook are we talking about? The weather?

Happy 2013 and may peace and love be with you!

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Yaw Shin Leong Vs Michael Palmer

If you want to be a politician in Singapore, you better learn to keep your dick in check.

Two elected MPs, Yaw Shin Leong and Michael Palmer learned their lesson the hard way in 2012. One is from the white camp and the other from the blue camp. Yaw’s alleged affair surfaced at the beginning of the year while Palmer’s affair surfaced now at the end of the year.

Here’s a comparision between the two:

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Palmer the ‘Honorable’ vs Shin Leong the ‘coward’ – a different perspective

And then Yaw shocked everybody by leaving the country a day after his expulsion. If you ask me, none of this made any sense. Of course some folks were quick to jump in and point this behavior out as an act of gross cowardice. I'm not sure if it had crossed anyone's mind that perhaps Yaw was trying his best to protect the persons involved in the alleged affair. I mean, yes, there were speculations about the identity of the woman, but so far, it had remained as just that. There may also be other reasons, other people for whom he felt responsible for, that he prioritized over his political career and reputation.

And then we have Palmer-gate. It's astonishing how in less than 24 hours after the shocking announcement of his resignation, his colleagues fall over each other to give a glowing portrayal of Michael Palmer. If I didn't know any better, I would thought he was one of the 300 Spartans who perished in battle with the mighty Persians at Thermopylae! One even went as far as to say what he did was 'right and honorable'.

Kind of weird that Yaw is a dick for not saying too much and the identity of the other woman in the alleged affair is never confirmed, and Palmer is honorable while the other woman in his story gets slut-shamed.

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Sex scandals in 2012 - S'poreans pick 'Lust' as 2012's Chinese character

After three weeks of voting for Lianhe Zaobao's "Character of the Year" readers' poll, the Chinese character for 'Lust' was chosen to represent 2012.

With a series of high-profile sex scandals involving sex-for-contracts, sex-for-grades and paid sex with an underage prostitute this year, 2012 was perceived as a year of 'Lust', a common interpretation of the Chinese character 'se'.

The meaning of 'se' goes beyond the birds and the bees. It also encompasses wide-ranging connotations from colours to facial expressions.

Related stories:
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Online scrutiny has made it harder for public figures to keep scandals under wraps

A year can be a lifetime in politics and what a year 2012 has been.

Predictably, there continued to be strenuous debate over the troika of policy areas - housing, transport and foreigners - that had emerged as key election issues last year. These are problems associated with a maturing economy, which has reached a high standard of living but is unsure how to sustain growth in a way that benefits all.

More surprisingly, this was also a year shaped by an emotion as primordial as you can get, straight from the worlds of Greek tragedies and Shakespearean plays 

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OPINION: Singapore degenerating into a city of sex scandals
Malaysia Star, 29 Dec 2012
SINGAPORE, which still bans Playboy magazine, is moving into 2013 after going through one of its hottest years for sex scandals.

Few old-timers can remember living through a more torrid period such as this that has dragged in so many prominent, high-profile people both from within and outside the government.

It was as though Singapore was invaded by a type of virus in the air that destroyed human immunity against sexual misconduct.

It spread through the city, striking down young and middle-aged Singaporeans – from Members of Parliament, elite civil servants and business executives to cleaners and lorry drivers. Full story 

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A year of lusting men and lasting wives'

For some, it was an extraordinary act of love and loyalty. For others, it was an act more akin to dependency or foolishness

A commentary published on Singapolitics.sg last week praising women who stand by their men in times of crisis sparked off a fierce debate over whether sticking with someone after a highly publicised act of betrayal was the right thing to do.

Straits Times China Correspondent Kor Kian Beng certainly felt so. He wrote in a commentary titled "2012: The Year Of The Strong Woman?" that the decision by the women to stand by their men was a sign of strength.

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Singapore Caps Year of Lust With Parliamentary Affair

Singapore's Parliament House stands in Singapore. Photographer: Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg 

The resignation of Singapore Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer yesterday over an extramarital affair came two days after readers of the island’s largest Chinese newspaper called 2012 a year of lust.

Palmer, 44, said he had a relationship with a member of a government agency who worked in a district he used to represent. He’s the second person this year to leave Parliament for private indiscretions.

“Human failings and affairs are common,” said Bridget Welsh, a political science professor at the Singapore Management University. “What is new is the open discussion of these issues, expansion of public sphere and the difficult political navigation of these issues.”

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Unprecedented year

Singapore, which still bans Playboy magazine, is moving into 2013 after going through one of its hottest years for sex scandals.

Few old-timers can remember living through a more torrid period such as this that has dragged in so many prominent, high-profile people both from within and outside the government.

It was as though Singapore was invaded by a type of virus in the air that destroyed human immunity against sexual misconduct.

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Singapore News 2012

We will be ushering in year 2013 in just 2 days. This year, if there is one word to describe Singapore's top news, this word will be: Deviant as:

a) there are so many prominent personalities such as civil servants, prinicipals and even MPs involving in "not proper" relationship with the opposite sex 

b) there are offensive comments coming from people like Sun Xu and Amy Cheong 

c) and last but not least, some SMRT bus drivers even orchestrated an "illegal strike" not seen here in decades!

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The Year In Pictures

She came, she saw, she collected millions, and zoomed off into the sunset in her Ferrari California. Budget for train maintenance, whazzat? Engineering is so unsexy. The new guy seems to think so too.

His sacking triggered a by-election. In retrospect, it was a godsend; the relentless witch hunters will have the tables turned on themselves before the year was over.

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The year in sex scandals

The word "sex" has probably been spoken or written about more this year than in any other year in Singapore.

From neighbourhood coffee shops to office pantries to dinner parties, sex scandals involving top civil servants, teachers and other high-fliers fuelled many a conversation for an entire year and kept the nation riveted.

Related stories:

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2012: The year of the strong woman?

For many, 2012 will be remembered for its scandals, after seeing a string of cases involving the successful and powerful men tripping over sex and extramarital affairs. Last week, Zaobao readers went so far as to vote it as the “year of lust” for Singapore. But that is a tad negative.

Instead, I would like to remember 2012 as the year of the Singaporean women - who have shown remarkable strength to forgive and even support their wayward men, as exemplified by the wives in each of the scandals.

In a year where the focus has been trained intensely on politicians and other powerful men, the good example being set by the women behind them has been obscured.

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Sex scandals in 2012

The Chinese character "se" means colour, but it can also mean lust. On Monday, Lianhe Zaobao's readers voted it as the word of the year, among others such as "change", "reproach" and "home".

And they may be spot-on. In the past year, Singapore has seen a number of high-profile scandals:

Related stories:
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The year of the Internet mouth-off

If there is one lesson that has emerged during 2012, it must surely be this one - watch what you say online. Over the past year, several people have sparked national uproar by leaving offensive messages on Facebook and Twitter. It did not matter if they had posted the rants on the spur of the moment or had intended them to be private. One after another, they were shamed by other Internet users. Joyce Lim takes a look at four cases that clearly demonstrate the power of the online vigilante.

SUN XU - He compared S'poreans to dogs

AMY CHEONG - She disparaged Malay weddings

LAI SHIMUN - She made racist tweet about Indians

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Women involved in sex scandals

WHO: Former IT sales manager Cecilia Sue Siew Nang, 36, prosecution witness in the sex-for-contracts trial of former Central Narcotics Bureau director Ng Boon Gay.

WHAT: Ng, 46, faces four charges of obtaining oral sex from Ms Sue to further the interest of her companies between June and December last year.

TRIAL: Ms Sue testified in court last week that Ng had forced her to give him oral sex in a car on those four occasions. The defence maintains they were in a consensual relationship. The case has been adjourned to Oct 31.

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Underage Sex Scandal

48 men have been charged in court for paying for sex with an underage prostitute. Another 14 are under probe.
The accused include civil servants, high flyers in the finance industry, and other notable figures.

80 men have been implicated in the case. More charges are expected to be filed.
Paid sex with a minor carries a jail term of up to seven years and a possible fine.
 » Read: The law on underage sex

related stories:
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To S'pore youth, sex scandals are a big deal

Sex scandals - especially those involving high-profile public officers - do strike a chord among young Singaporeans.

The majority of the 20 people we polled, all aged below 30, say inappropriately mixing work with pleasure is no small matter.

"Just because others are doing it doesn't make it less of a big deal," says 22-year-old undergraduate Shannon Ang.

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10 new year's resolutions really worth keeping

1 Be kind to yourself

2 Learn to say no

3 Don't be a doormat

4 Get what you want from sex

5 Have a ‘me-moment’ each and every day

6 Get moving and get fit

7 Give up comfort eating

8 Find your femme fatale side

9 Learn the confidence game

10 Dump the ‘mañana’ attitude

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Post-Christmas body-skimming cheats

Cheat your way to a better body

Bag a perfectly fitting bra

Grab some granny pants

Go as high as you dare

Opt for a floaty top over skinny jeans

Get a face-framing haircut

Bring out the block colours

Snap up some high denier hosiery

Wear a tailored jacket

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Watz Online - 28 Dec 2012

Singapore scholarship applications now open

Applications for the Dr. Goh Keng Swee (GKS) Scholarship are now open to interested candidates from Asia Pacific countries.

The GKS scholarship was established to honor former Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Goh Keng Swee, who fostered Singapore’s economic development and its growth as a reputable international financial center.

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to outstanding individuals from the Asia-Pacific region to pursue undergraduates studies at local universities in Singapore.

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Health Ministry raps hospital over baby mix-up

THE Ministry of Health (MOH) has sent a “stern letter” reprimanding the head of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) for the lack of supervision and oversight which resulted in two babies going home with the wrong parents last month.

The Ministry, in a statement following a press briefing yesterday on how two babies were swapped, said it found such a lapse “unacceptable”.

The letter to Professor Kenneth Kwek was to register the ministry’s “disappointment and concern on the lack of supervision and oversight, especially with regard to patient identity and safety in the nursery”.

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Delhi gang-rape victim flown to Singapore for specialist medical care

The Indian student who was left with life-threatening injuries after being brutally gang-raped in Delhi was tonight on her way to Singapore for specialist medical care.

The 23-year-old reportedly remains in a critical but stable condition after being attacked on a bus earlier this month. Six people, including the bus driver, have been arrested in connection with the incident, which sparked violent protests across the capital over the weekend.

According to various reports in the Indian media, the paramedical student was moved out of Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital this morning shortly before midnight, en route to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

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‘I am envious of their freedom’ 

Over the past few days, my Facebook home page is rife with messages of gratitude posted by friends who live in Singapore, thanking their stars that they live in a country where they can go out any time of day or night, without fear of any sort.

One of them talked about how she went for a late-night snack with a friend at 2 a.m., and then walked home. “Wonder how many nations, even developed nations at that, can offer this haven?” she wrote. Another friend posted: “As I returned home early this morning from a Christmas party, in party gear, I reflected that at no moment did I feel unsafe.” As I read the messages, I feel envious of their freedom.

I lived in Singapore for more than half my life. I studied, and then worked there.

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Public sector corruption cases formed 'only a small part'

Corruption-related cases involving public sector employees formed "only a small part" last year, even though the civil service's public image has been "dented recently by some high profile cases".

Of the 135 offenders charged last year, six were public sector employees, said the latest public sector outcomes review released yesterday. Published once every two years, the report provided a glance at how the country has fared in areas of national interest.

According to the report, the Government's "swift and resolute response" to these corruption-related cases "demonstrates its resolve to uphold the highest standards of integrity in the public sector".

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Man acquitted of having paid sex with underage girl 

A 29-year-old cleaner, accused of having paid sex with an underage girl, was granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal on Wednesday.

Md Salauddin Md Dudu Mia, a Bangladeshi national, had allegedly paid the girl S$10 for sex.

The girl, now 15, cannot be named to protect her identity.

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Watz Online - 27 Dec 2012

Lee Hsien Loong: India could achieve by overcoming status quo interests

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore.

As Asean faces territorial disputes, does India have a role? - The dispute is between claimant states - China and several Asean countries. Asean has an interest because it's at our doorstep. It has an impact on freedom of navigation and regional security. India has an interest in freedom of navigation. You're much more connected to the world now, your exports are growing. Apart from the South China Sea, India has a big account in south-east Asia, there are many Indian companies there. I think it makes sense for India to be taking an interest.

How do you view the new Chinese leadership? - They're capable, sober people, not firebrands. I think they'll want peace in the region. They need to act on difficult things - corruption, economic reforms, political evolution. Externally, i think they'll see interest in a stable relationship with their neighbours - and the US. I think both they and the US will not want to collide.

When it comes to territorial disputes, they will not find it easy to let go of what they consider theirs by right. We'll have to see how that plays out with Japan and in the South China Sea. We hope there'll be restraint on all sides and we can work towards a code of conduct. It's not just about some square miles in the sea and what lies underneath - it's about what kind of country they are, whether they will abide by international laws and mutual respect - or whether it's a system of the strong calling the shots and the weak conceding.

What is your view on increasing India-Asean connectivity? - We're working at it. We're talking of connectivity in a broad sense - roads, rail, air, telecom, internet, gas and electricity grids. We hope Indian companies will take an interest in these projects. One big potential is in air services. There's no reason why you cannot open up fully. Some airlines might say, you should go more slowly, i'm watching my business - but actually, what the airlines wins or loses is very small compared to what the country gains.

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Rohingya Refugees Rejected by Singapore

A Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh near the border of Myanmar Photo by auniket Copyright@Demotix (10/15/2012)

After being adrift at sea for more than 30 hours, 40 Rohingya refugees were rescued by a Vietnamese ship, MV Nosco Victory, on December 5, 2012. A few days after, the ship reached Singapore but the government refused entry to the Rohingya survivors. Singapore netizens and human rights groups reacted strongly to the decision of authorities to send away the refugees.

Rohingya is an ethnic group which is struggling for recognition in Myanmar. But the government of Myanmar continues to refuse to grant citizenship rights to Rohingya residents. Local conflicts erupted this year involving Rakhine and Rohingya villagers in Western Myanmar. The government has denied that the Rohingyas are victims of genocide and religious persecution.

Fortunately, Malaysia agreed to give shelter to the 40 Rohingya refugees.

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Capitalism 2.0 - Coming to a Country Near You!

Chee Siok Chin in Singapore

The more important lesson to learn relates to the world's single most pessimistic country: Singapore.

Using our usual conceptions of what makes you happy, Singaporeans should be near the top of the optimist list. For example, by any measure, they are very rich, have long life expectancies, and can drink Coke and watch re-runs of Baywatch all day long. 

I submit the reason they are so miserable is that they live in the heart of the new form of authoritarian capitalism, a version 2.0 of capitalism that is divorced from democracy and proving more powerful than our old-fashioned social democratic version.

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Singapore to get tourists to spend more

Singapore’s tourism authorities will try to get tourists spend more in the city state, a local television channel reported Tuesday, citing a senior official of the government.

S Iswaran, second trade and industry minister, said that the country’s tourism strategy will not only involve attracting a larger number of visitors, but also put more emphasis on deriving higher economic yield from tourists, Channel NewsAsia reported.

This means planning for events and activities to generate extra spending from visitors, it said.

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Singapore strikes shed light on workers' woes

The workers' dormitory in the Serangoon Gardens estate is closed off from public view [Heather Tan/Al Jazeera]

After 26 years without a strike, labour unrest over low wages and appalling living conditions has roiled Singapore - drawing attention to the country's often-exploited migrant worker community.

Over the past month, several groups of Chinese migrant workers staged labour strikesprotests and sit-ins. Similarly, in February, a group of 200 Bangladeshi construction workers launched a seven-hour sit-out to protest unpaid salaries and the dismal food served by their employers. 

In response to a strike of 171 Chinese bus drivers in November, the Singaporean government deported 29 people and imposed $2,000 fines and jail terms for several others for instigating "illegal" action.

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Singapore’s Inflation Rate Eased to Two-Year Low in November

Singapore’s inflation slowed to a two-year low in November as gains in housing and transportation costs eased

The consumer price index rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier, after climbing 4 percent in October, the Department of Statistics said in a statement today. The median estimate of 15 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for a 3.8 percent increase. The November core inflation rate was 2 percent.

The Southeast Asian nation tightened monetary policy in 2012 while neighbors from Thailand to the Philippines cut interest rates, spurring gains in the currency even as the government predicts gross domestic product will rise at the slowest pace in three years. The Monetary Authority of Singapore forecasts inflation will average more than 4.5 percent this year and will be in a 3.5 percent-to-4.5 percent range in 2013.

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Pharmaceuticals Lift S'pore November Industrial Output 

Singapore’s industrial production rose for the first time in four months in November as manufacturers produced more pharmaceuticals, countering a slump in electronics.

Manufacturing gained 3.1 percent from a year earlier after a revised 5.1 percent drop in October, the Economic Development Board said in a report today. The median of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 4.8 percent increase.

Data from the U.S. and China have shown signs of recovery in the world’s largest economies, which may boost demand for Singapore’s goods. The Southeast Asian nation this month concluded negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the European Union, deepening access to overseas markets.

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How Infamous Short-Seller Carson Block Can Take On The Singaporean Government And Win

Carson Block's newest short, Singapore-based commodity firm Olam, is near and dear to the Singaporean government's heart.

Temasek, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, just upped its stake in the company to 18% this week.

It's an indication of what the government, controlled by the unyielding Lee family, is willing to do to ensure that Block's call does not sink the company. Since Block's report, Olam announced it would offer $750 million in bonds and $500 million in warrants. Temasek could end up owning as much as 29% of the company, Bloomberg reports, if it exercises all the warrants in 2016.

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IT consultant gives up $5k job to become toilet attendant

It is relatively common to see Singaporeans going from job to job for either better prospects or a more attractive salary but 51-year-old Zhong Jing Gui has bucked that trend -- by giving up his high-paying job to become a toilet attendant.

According to a report on Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily, Mr Zhong gave up a salary as an IT consultant that was four times higher than his current pay package, of about $1,600, as the toilet attendant with Chinese restaurant Hai Di Lao after coming across their hiring advertisements.

He said, "I know that this restaurant is very big in China, and was very interested and curious, so I decided to try out for the job and challenge myself".

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Watz Buzzing - 26 Dec 2012

An elderly's life is worth only $7,500 in Singapore

Hardwarezone Forum, 20 Dec 2012
SINGAPORE: A 40-year-old driver has been fined S$7,500 and banned from driving for 42 months for causing the death of an elderly pedestrian.

On 22 January this year at about noon, Chang was driving along Telok Blangah Road towards Pasir Panjang when his car ran into the elderly couple.

He had shut his eyes for three seconds while driving because of fatigue. Before the accident, the credit officer had been gambling at Resorts World Sentosa casino for 15 hours. When he dozed off at the wheels, Chang veered to the left of the road and into the bus bay.

Mdm Ler Sock Hua, 70 and her husband, Yeo Ah Bah, 73 were standing at the bus stop, waiting to cross the road.
The collision killed Mr Yeo and seriously injured Mdm Ler. Full story

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High prices, low wages will lead to crisis

Dr Vincent Wijeysingha recently spoke at the Online/Offline forum held last weekend where he talked about the current economic arrangements in Singapore and its implications for our future. Below is the text of his speech.

The issue we are addressing today – and the incident that gave rise to it – is a serious one and has wide ramifications for societal stability.

I think we should, therefore, be very clear about what we are talking about, because a wrong approach can so easily ignite the wrong gunpowder: History has many examples of problems that have derailed societies because of a misapprehension of the core problem.

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Poor in Singapore can't afford food

Mr Lui should just shut up

That is my kind advice. Repeated attempts to explain something that sounds wrong only made it sound even worse.

If raising fares also meant improving service standards, can the Minister of Transport explain how is it that service levels continue to deteriorate after all these years of fare increase? Since past increment in fares actually translate into worsening service standards, history obviously shows that a rise in fares will not improve service standards. Service standard is also not simply achieved by paying bus captains more. It is a combination of reasonable fares, timeliness of buses, training, bus captain’s personal service, efficient planning of bus routes etc.

If the minister is concern about ‘keeping transport operators commercially viable’, he need not worry. SMRT and SBS continue to earn great profits and even manage to generously give out dividends to shareholders after a year of breakdowns and accidents; thanks to it’s monopolistic position and PAP’s generous transfer of $1.1 billion from the tax payers’ pockets (that could have been used for public projects) to capital owners, investors and of course, the bulk of which goes to Temasek Holdings. And can someone remind Cambridge educated Mr Lui commercially viable does not equate huge profits (with the cheek to hand out dividends after a government bail out)?

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OPINION: Questions surrounding Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) and PAP Town Councils
The Online Citizen, 21 Dec 2012
As Sylvia Lim pointed out, the questions have to be: Why did the PAP Town Councils relinquish ownership of the computer and financial system, and how much did they sell it to AIM for?
After the [general election] in May 2011, the Town Council was served with a notice that the Town Council’s Computer and Financial Systems will be terminated with effect from 1 August 2011 due to material changes to the membership of the Town Council. This Computer and Financial Systems had been developed jointly by the 14 PAP Town Councils over a period of more than 15 months but was in January 2011 sold to and leased back from M/s Action Information Management Pte Ltd, a company which was dormant. This effectively meant that ATHC had to develop its own equivalent systems, in particular a Financial System, within a 2 months’ timeframe.
Full story

  1. Where is the financial logic? Town councils develop computer system only to sell and lease back from dormant company run by ex-PAP MPs - CNA Forum
  2. Eternally Gratified - Singapore Notes
  3. What has Aljunied-Hougang TC’s IT system got to do with Changi airport? - TR Emeritus 
  4. REVEALED: The Chairman of the 'dormant' firm which bought the Computer and Financial Systems jointly - Hardwarezone Forum 
  5. Town Council IT systems developed by TC fund and sold back to dormant company - Hardwarezone Forum 
  6. Directorships of Mr S. Chandra Das - spicei2i.com
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Shameful: MOM could not help when PMET is bullied by lady boss in government body

There are a lot of people who think that just because the government supports people starting a family then the work environment  within any particular government body will be an ideal place to work in for them.

But this is hardly the case for me.

Moreover, in the event that a staff meets a terrible boss who does not want pregnant women on their team, there is nothing available to help the staff when the boss decides to remove the person indiscriminately.

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Singapore is Pro-Employer

On the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) blog, Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin has said that the MOM is neither pro-employer nor pro-worker but they seek to strike a balance between the two. I know Mr. Tan has not been the MOM minster for very long but if this is truly what he thinks, then it would kind of explain why Singapore is having such a spate of industrial disputes.

Basically Mr. Tan has no idea what he is saying because Singapore is as pro-employer as you can get in the world.

That is just a simple fact accepted by every company that comes to invest in Singapore. Hell, it's something we winked at when we pitch our country as an investment destination to them. Take the latest case of employer/worker dispute yesterday at Yishun.

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OPINION: Where is the financial logic? Town councils develop computer system only to sell and lease back from dormant company run by ex-PAP MPs

Channelnewsasia Forum, 18 Dec 2012
What is the financial logic that 14 Town councils jointly develop a computer system and sell it to an ex-member of parliament and then lease it back from the ex-member of parliament?

Full story

  1. Eternally Gratified - Singapore Notes
  2. What has Aljunied-Hougang TC’s IT system got to do with Changi airport? - TR Emeritus 
  3. REVEALED: The Chairman of the 'dormant' firm which bought the Computer and Financial Systems jointly - Hardwarezone Forum 
  4. Town Council IT systems developed by TC fund and sold back to dormant company - Hardwarezone Forum 
  5. Directorships of Mr S. Chandra Das - spicei2i.com

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Why PAP and WP should use stickk.com

Promises mean nothing without an independent referee and putting up a stake in amounts that can hurt if they remained unfulfilled

We have heard promises of “Swiss standards of living”, “More good years” and “no one will be left behind” from the People’s Action Party (PAP) camp. And when we look around us, do you, the readers, believe that we as a nation (when we say “nation”, it means all Singaporeans, and not a select elite group) have reached the stage where no one is left behind, and secondly is everyone enjoying Swiss standards of living and more good years?

Likewise for the Workers’ Party (WP) slogan of “Towards a first world parliament”, do we consider the depth and scope of policy debates offered by the WP members of parliament (MPs) as that deserving of first world status, if we are to assume that a party who wants to bring the parliament to first world status should bring to the table policy recommendations or suggestions which are of a first world quality? Elections of a political nature and sometimes utterances from certain prominent politicians are inevitably filled with rhetorics. What us the voters are more concerned with is whether such rhetorics are turned into reality or remain as empty promises.

Behavioral economics is an interesting subject, being at the interface of psychology and economics. Nobel Prizes have been given out for groundbreaking work done in this area. In a nutshell, it is interested in analysing the psychological impact of certain developments, e.g. work place policies on individuals which determines their subsequent response. We previously looked at the impact of reduced wages on workforce morale and productivity, and now our focus is diverted to another interesting area – how to get individuals to keep their promise, effectively. This is where stickk.com comes in. Thus, what is stickk.com about? It is a brainchild of Yale Professor of Economics Dean Karlan, who came up with the idea of an online “Committment Store”.

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Broken Promises

Remember the falling e-clip, last detected at the Clementi station? The clip was found on the ground on the centre road divider below the MRT track along Commonwealth Avenue West, near the junction of Clementi Avenue 3.

Manufacturer PANDROL introduced their e-PLUS System for locations with very high lateral forces, such as the curving section at Clementi. Instead of replacing the old ‘e’ clips, SMRT simply put up temporary safety netting to catch falling hardware. The flimsy green barriers are still at the Clementi tracks.

When Lieutenant General Demond Kuek took over from Saw Phaik Hwa as the new CEO of SMRT in October 2012, he proclaimed with great fanfare, “What is certain is that we are first and foremost a public transport operator. This is the core business that we are responsible for and must excel in.” He also paid lip service to putting priority on engineering ("strengthen our operations, engineering and maintenance capabilities") and safety ("instill a strong customer service and safety culture in all our people”).

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Part-time MPs: It’s not about time management

I refer to the 14 Dec 2012 letter “Part-time MPs: It’s about time management” by Mr Jeffrey Law. If it’s about time management, does that mean that Mr Baey Yam Keng who recently quit his job to become a full time MP doesn’t have good time management?

Does it mean that Mr Chen Show Mao who rose to the top of his legal profession also cannot manage time well and therefore has to quit his job to become a full time MP too?

I believe it’s more about delegation. We know many MPs are well supported by grassroots volunteers and staff from the People’s Association. They are the ones carrying the bulk of the workload of addressing the people’s concerns. If MPs offload the bulk of their work to their supporting staff, they can afford to go part time.

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Is Tan Chuan-Jin a little deaf frog like Lim Swee Say?

The Online Citizen, 18 Dec 2012
A construction worker from the Sime Chong Construction Pte Ltd spoke with us on the predicament that he and his fellow workers are faced with. They were not paid for their work by their company. Its been close to a month since they stopped work at the company.
They had their salaries of 2-3 months owned by their employers for a period of about 3 months. The difference between the amount owing is due to the different worksite and overtime of each worker. The workers had sought assistance from Ministry of Manpower (MOM) but was asked to wait, as MOM could not do much since the owner of the company which they are working in said that the company replied saying that they do not have money to pay them. Full story

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